Police Ombudsman finds PSNI failings in arrest of Lifford man who later died

David ColhounA Police Ombudsman investigation has found failings on behalf of the PSNI in the case of a Lifford man who drowned after escaping from custody in 2011.
David Colhoun’s remains were discovered in the River Finn last February, 10 months after he disappeared on May 22 2011.
The 22-year-old had been arrested during a night out in Strabane but managed to evade capture while being transferred between police cars.
It is understood he entered the river in a bid to swim back to his native Lifford.
Giving evidence during an inquest into the death yesterday, Stephen Black of the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman’s office said that their investigations had found failings in how officers handled Mr Colhoun after he was arrested.
Mr Black revealed that two officers had since been disciplined for their actions.
The inquest heard that at around 4am, police arrested Mr Colhoun after finding him in possession of a weapon, namely a Hoover extension.
He had been going to “sort someone out” after his sister was assaulted during an altercation in Strabane.
David Colhoun was placed in the rear of a police car and taken to Strabane PSNI station where he was to be transferred from one police vehicle to another to be taken to Limavady custody suite.
It was during this transfer that he managed to run off. He was last seen in the vicinity of Strabane bridge.
During yesterday’s hearing, the Ombudsman’s office said that a number of guidelines, including the fact that child locks on the police car were not engaged, had been ignored.
Stephen Black said that following Mr Colhoun’s death, a review of prisoner transfer procedures at Strabane station had been carried out and several changes implemented.
He said, “This was a misconduct investigation and two officers failed in their duty with regards to Mr Colhoun’s welfare. While in duty they have a duty towards their prisoner. They failed in that duty and we recommended they be disciplined.”
Mr Black added that checks of the police vehicle used to carry David Colhoun had been carried out and no faults found.